A TikTok video by a good Samaritan helped reunite a man with his family 13 years after he went missing from Telanganaâ€™s Gangaram-Peddatanda of Bijnepalli mandal in Nagarkurnool district.
Ramanjaneyulu, who works as an auto driver in Hyderabad, had come to his home in Gudigandla following the lockdown. He had recently installed TikTok to pass time with his children during the lockdown.
One day, Ramanjaneyulu found Ratlavath Chandru (50) sleeping on the side of an empty road in his village. Ramanjaneyulu interacted with him and found out that the man had a family but had run away from home for certain reasons. He took a video of the man speaking about himself and his family, and posted it on TikTok. Within a day, a few people approached him saying they knew Chandru.
Speaking to TNM, Ramanjaneyulu said, â€śI have seen Chandru in the village for a long time. He would never talk to anyone, he would take up some petty works so he could feed himself. One day, as I sat down and conversed with him, he slowly spoke about who he was and where he came from, which I then posted on TikTok.â€ť
He added, â€śFirst a boy messaged saying Chandru was his uncle, then a friend of mine too said he knew Chandruâ€™s family and gave my number to them, after which they contacted me. I took two days to verify and cross-check with him. He recognised his mother and his wife from photos and a few video calls made things easier.â€ť
Chandru had left home 13 years back in 2007 and reached Gudigandla in Narayanpet, which is about 100 km away. According to villagers, from then onwards he never left the village, staying near the village school or temple.
Two days after Ramanjaneyulu posted the video, Chandruâ€™s wife Maroni, son Srinivas and daughter Lakshmi came to Gudigandla along with a few villagers. The village sarpanch and local representatives handed Chandru over to the custody of his family following an interaction.
Ramanjaneyulu said, â€śThe family was very happy to be reunited with Chandru. I never thought that TikTok, which I installed just for entertainment, would reunite this poor man with his family. The family said they looked for him for years after he went missing and thought that he had died as he had some mental health issues.â€ť
Several Gudigandla villagers gave a heartfelt send-off to Chandru as he walked along the streets and informed them about his reunion and that he was going home.
A video, which has a popular Telugu film song playing in the background, shows a happy Chandru smiling at villagers as he meets his family.
Makthal Sub Inspector of Police confirmed Chandruâ€™s reunion with his family after 13 years with the help of the TikTok video.
This is not the first time that the app has helped families reconnect with their dear ones. In March, a man from Nandyal in Kurnool district of Andhra was reunited with his family six years after he went missing.